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Rafael Nadal’s uncle expects him to play at French Open

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Seven

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a ball to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia during their Men’s Singles match on Day Seven of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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MADRID - The uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal says the 22-time Grand Slam winner plans to be back fit in time to play the French Open next month.

Toni Nadal told Spain’s Radio Marca his nephew will soon be ready to return from a hip injury that has sidelined him since January. Toni Nadal, who coached Rafael until the end of the 2017 season, said he expects him to try to come back at Rome in early May.

“He’s going to play in Paris, although how he trains in the coming weeks and what he can do in Rome will be important to measure his aspirations there,” Toni Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal is undergoing a slow recovery from a left hip flexor injury at the Australian Open. The issue has kept him from playing at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

The 36-year-old Nadal won his record-extending 14th French Open title last year.

The French Open starts on May 28. Given Nadal’s age and trouble with injuries, it could be his last best shot at breaking his tie of Grand Slam titles with Novak Djokovic.